Antonio Margheriti

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Antonio Margheriti
Born (1930-09-19)19 September 1930
Rome, Italy
Died 4 November 2002(2002-11-04) (aged 72)
Monterosi, Viterbo, Italy
Occupation Film director, producer, writer

Antonio Margheriti (19 September 1930 – 4 November 2002), also known under the pseudonym Anthony M. Dawson, was an Italian filmmaker.[1] Margheriti worked in many different genres in the Italian film industry, and was known for his sometimes derivative but often stylish and entertaining science fiction, sword and sandal, horror/giallo, Eurospy, spaghetti western, Vietnam War and action movies that were released to a wide international audience.

He was born in Rome and died in 2002 from a heart attack in Monterosi, Viterbo, near Rome at the age of 72.

Life and career[edit]

Like Roger Corman, Margheriti originally began his tertiary education as an engineer. In 1950 he entered the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia film school and after completing his studies became an assistant on various documentary films. Margheriti started out in the Italian feature film industry in 1956 (age 26) as a screenwriter, editor and assistant director. During the production of a never completed documentary about the 1908 Messina earthquake, Margheriti constructed models for the film. This led the producer of that film to recommend him as a director.[2]

He started directing in 1960, his first film being Assignment Outer Space where he also did some of the model work. He directed such Italian cult movies as Castle of Blood (1963), The Long Hair of Death (1964), Wild Wild Planet (1965), Cannibal Apocalypse, The Virgin of Nuremberg, Naked You Die (1968), Mr. Super Invisible, The Last Hunter, Battle of the Worlds and numerous others. Most of his films were directed under the pseudonym of Anthony M. Dawson. He stopped using his real name in the United States early in his career, when he was told by his dubbing director Ted Rusoff that the English translation of the name "Antonio Margheriti" was "Anthony Daisies", and that it sounded too effeminate; Margheriti added his middle initial "M" as the name Anthony Dawson was used by the English actor.

He was the only Italian director who worked directly for American production companies like MGM, United Artists, 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, etc. with films like: Yor, the Hunter from the Future, Take a Hard Ride, Killer Fish, etc. Margheriti said his action/adventure/war films were his favorites, and his least favorite movies were the sword-and-sandal peplum films he made in the early 1960s (such as Devil of the Desert Against the Son of Hercules and Giants of Rome).

For years, director Paul Morrissey disputed Margheriti's claim that he had directed "Andy Warhol's Frankenstein" (aka Flesh for Frankenstein) in the early 1970s, saying that Margheriti was mostly just a technical advisor on that film. Morrissey said Margheriti did however direct a very brief segment of the movie (mostly the scenes involving the two children roaming around in the lab).

Margheriti worked with many well-known genre actors such as Lee Van Cleef, John Saxon, Claude Rains, John Morghen, Klaus Kinski, Barbara Steele, Richard Harrison, Reb Brown, Donald Pleasence, Yul Brynner, David Warbeck, Luciano Pigozzi, Marvin Hagler, Lee Majors, James Franciscus, Terence Hill, Fred Williamson, Christopher Lee and many others. Most of his later films were shot in the Philippines (especially his war films). Margheriti also collaborated on the special effects in two Italian cult films which he did not direct, Sergio Leone's Duck, You Sucker! (1971) and Aldo Lado's The Humanoid (1979).

Margheriti retired from filmmaking in 1996 at age 66. He died in 2002 of natural causes. Margheriti's son Edoardo and daughter Antonella are both also involved in filmmaking. Eli Roth's character in the 2009 Quentin Tarantino film Inglourious Basterds took Margheriti as his namesake.

The Gamma One series[edit]

Margheriti made two of the first ever Italian space movies in 1960 and 1961 respectively; Assignment Outer Space (known as "Space Men" in Italy) and Battle of the Worlds (known as "The Planet of Extinct Men" in Italy).

In 1965, since he was considered an accomplished science-fiction film director who could work wonders with a very small budget, Margheriti was hired by MGM to direct four Italian space movies that became known as the Gamma One series. He finished all four films in three months. The films in the series were made to be distributed in the USA (most were sold directly to late-night television) under the following titles: Wild Wild Planet, War of the Planets, War Between the Planets and Snow Devils. A fifth film was later made in the Gamma One series in Japan in 1968—a film Margheriti did not direct—titled: The Green Slime (a.k.a. Gamma One: Operation Outer Space) which starred Robert Horton.



  1. ^ "Antonio Margheriti". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ p.159 Paul, Louis Italian Horror Film Directors McFarland, 15 Nov 2004

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